Disability and Sickness Absence

The University is committed to attracting, growing and engaging with talented people from diverse backgrounds at every level. As part of this commitment the University recognises the importance of inclusivity within the University community, to ensure that all can flourish and reach their full potential.

One of the key principles of the University’s Sickness Absence Management policy and procedure is to ensure that all reasonable measures are taken to support and retain disabled staff in employment. Details of the policy and procedure are available below:

Sickness Absence Management Policy: http://hr.dept.shef.ac.uk/PM/SPolicy.pdf

Sickness Absence Management Procedure: http://hr.dept.shef.ac.uk/PM/SProcedure.pdf

As part of the policy and procedure, all sickness absence, whether related to a disability or not, will be included in the sickness records. However, where the employee identifies that they perceive that their absence is due to or aggravated by a disability, this can be flagged by their manager, at the employee’s request.

If you consider that an individual has high sickness absence levels due to a disability but the individual has not disclosed this, it is essential that the matter is dealt with sensitively.

In such circumstances it is important to:

  • Discuss this possibility with the individual by reassuring them that the aim of such a discussion is to identify whether any reasonable adjustments can be made to assist them to carry out their role / return to work.
  • Record any actions agreed so that on-going support can be provided to the individual.
  • If relevant, seek the individual’s agreement for a management referral to Occupational Health Services to gain their advice.
  • Upon receipt of the Occupational Health Services advice/information gained from the individual, determine whether any suggestions can be implemented as reasonable adjustments.

If a staff member becomes disabled during the course of their employment at the University, the individual may choose to disclose their change in circumstances through discussing their situation either with you as their manager or another such as a counsellor etc. You may also learn of their disability through the sickness absence management procedure (see above link), when deterioration in their health leads to them taking time off work.

For further information on the use of such flags and the potential intervention and support that may be appropriate for managers to consider, depending on the circumstances of each case please refer to additional information available at:www.shef.ac.uk/hr/guidance/leave/sickness